About BigSurKate

This is me … or the “guest” in front of Cheryl’s (old) shop, I’m never sure. But bigsurkate isn’t about me – it is about us. We, as a community, are active, involved, and willing to share and work together to make sure this community stays informed. That’s what bigsurkate is about. I could not do even a quarter of what I do without the contributions of readers from all over the globe. I salute and honor you all.

July 5, 2008, during the Basin Fire, I started blogging in response to the heavy-handedness of the then-Sheriff. Four years of almost daily posts, have resulted in 1527 articles or posts, 4820 comments from readers, and over 555,000 “hits” or views. All I can say is wow!

I live on top of a mountain, 5 miles off the highway with forever views. In fact, in the long-ago past, there used to be a look-out tower up here. Now that is me … With Internet and cell phone replacing the old CBs and radio communications of the past. I feel a great responsibility toward this blog, and my part in helping to keep us all informed about issues that effect Big Sur, particularly on fires and road conditions.

I encourage everyone to share here. To watch out for each other and to make sure our information is as accurate as possible. Our community is unique, and our honesty robust. Let’s stay true to that.

This is a part of who we are, because I am not alone, I am just one of the public voices. You can email me directly at kwnovoa@mac.com

Thanks for your visit, and for taking part in my little blog. bigsurkate, revised, September 6, 2012.


82 Responses to “About BigSurKate”

  1. Hello Kate: I am concerned about what has been happening on Apple Pie Ridge. My son Chris lives there and I know he has been on the fire line trying to protect the structures there. What is this about someone being arrested? I received a call from his cell that cut off before I could answer. We I called him immmediately his phone was off. Who got arrested? Would like ot help if I can even though I am in WA state.

  2. Riverfloater

    I confirmed last night with a family member last night that Ross Curtis was arrested. I have yet to speak with Ross, but am hoping he calls me today.

  3. Hello Kate, I need your help. How do I contact you privately?

  4. RR call (831) 818-8016

  5. Hi Kate,
    Since you seem to know so much abour the area…tell me…is Ventana Inn still in great danger? I know at one point the fire was right next to the propperty, but has it since moved?
    I really appreciate your help!

  6. Kate, I hope you are well. I used to live at Claus’s on lower Partington. Did his place make it through the fire? I understand Claus passed away last year. Sorry to hear…… I am in Ashland Oregon now, Saul is also living here.

    Take care and ,y best to all James Zekas (831) 214-9958

  7. KATE DO YOU NEED HELP? THANKS FOR THE PIC KURT

  8. Very informative site for a transplanted Cambrian currently in Colorado. Thank you!

  9. Thanks for the up to the minute reports on the fire. There are many people that I’m very concerned about in the south coast area, also I have been a vendor at the festival for 11 years now and It’s very kind of you to make available this most important info.Come and say HI to us in booth #8, The Monterey Jade Co………….Tim Hall.

  10. Kate and others: how is the Hermitage fairing, lots of smoke there, are they in danger?

  11. Jane, I tried to send you a private email, but as far as I know, the Hermitage is in no immediate danger. The fire is moving south and west, both directions AWAY from the Hermiage.

  12. Inciweb is reporting acreage accurately. Perhaps you were looking at “total personnel?”

    Current Situation
    Total Personnel 1,334
    Size 11,968 acres
    Percent Contained 22%
    Estimated Containment Date Friday October 17th, 2008 aprox 06:00 PM
    Fuels Involved Chaparral (6 Feet). Large volume of dead and down material. Oak woodland and pockets of timber.

    Fire Behavior Minimal spread due to rain overnight associated with a cold front.

    Significant Events Dempsey Flat, Biere property, Macaruby and Alms property have been removed from the list of areas/residences threatened by the fire.

  13. Thanks BigSurKate, got your nice email and appreciate it. Both my husband and I would like to know that if this fire is increasing, how come personnel are being pulled off the fire?

    Is there lots of smoke around Lucia, Hermitage and Lime Kiln or has that gone a few days ago?

    Thinking of you Kate and doggies, wish we lived down there to help you guys out.

    But if you need some personpower, tell us all and we’ll try.

    Jane and Tim, Capitola

  14. Hey Kate, hey everyone: if I didn’t have long ago scheduled obligations, I’d be down there supporting you and the Festival, I guess Sunday is the last day, bummer?

    Thinking of you and hoping the winds won’t whip up anything new. Love you all and KNOW you will have a fantastic Festival, know I am there in spirit with you all.

    Jane, Capitola

  15. well me again and I didn’t think I would post, thought the Chalk Fire was behind us so it’s a week or so later.

    I know the Hermitage was evacuated. are people able to take their pets when they evacuate? I mention this because there are some dear loved pets and feral pets that are at the Hermitage, anyone taking care of that?

    God Bless you all.

    Jane (again, Capitola

  16. Dear Kate! May I say “thank you so much” for your giving all these breath-taking pictures! I’m an oblate of the Hermitage, living in Vienna, Austria. To see even accross 12.000 km distance, what is taking place in this area, is fantastic (but some times shocking too) From the “other corner” of the world, I greet you and pray for YOUR security too!
    Sincerely
    Arno
    Vienna Austria

  17. Kate: I, too, an an Oblate!

    on Gordon’s photo, how close IS this fire to the Hermitage? Also, I assume everyone is gone ther and was wondering and trying to place Gordon?

    I am sending prayers and good thoughts, sounds like everyone is doing a fine job. I think after this all is over (and it WILL be) and once things settled down, I think we all should have a rollicking party to celebrate. I think even the Monks would attend, as it will definitely not be contemplative!

  18. Thank you Kate for the worderful updates and photos of the Chalk Fire. I am an oblate of the Hermitage (living in SoCal) and have followed your site every day. My prayers and thoughts are with all of you.
    Donna

  19. I’ll just chime in, too — as another oblate following the Chalk Fire from a distance via your website, Kate. My wife and I — usually in San Jose or at Rocky Creek (in Big Sur) at this moment are in Ottawa. And, we, too, appreciate your ongoing wonderful work, Kate.

  20. Hi Kate. Got home today from the 2008 fire season. Am Capt on T-00 this year. Live in Paso Pobles. I called you early in the year with the names of the pilots of the tankers. Will be in your area this winter some time. Would like to meet you, and thank you for you informative web site. I have never recieved real time info on a fire in over 20 years of doing this. I have your phone number will call when I get in your area. Thanks for what you do. Will make sure you get a company calendar. Phillip J Darnell. 805 886 6092

  21. Did the Chalk fire damage areas within Limekiln S.P., ie the trails, falls, campground?

  22. Dan, I wrote you privately. If you did not get it, let me know. Thanks for visiting.

  23. Hi Big Sur Kate,
    Sure enjoy your web page, +information and many comments. Have turned into a daily visitor with great pleasure…

    But, need to know how can I get a cell phone booster like you mentioned you have???
    My solar home is on a dirt road in the Santa Monica Mountains, but regularly I visit Big Sur and other remote places and would like to be able to use my cell—-it regularly hits dead areas…. Thanks for any info. you can share–Name of your booster + how you ordered it….
    Thanks again for being there, take good care..
    Karen

  24. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! And for an Apocalypse-Free Winter. Thank you so muc, Kate, for your blogsite! It is very helpful to me.

    Kindest regards,

    Sapan Rinpoche
    Lyons, Colorado

  25. hi, do you know if this morning’s slide zone is from a burn area from last summer or just a good old fashioned rock slide?
    your post makes it look like it will be cleaned up this morning.
    Thanks for the post. Looks like good info.

    Jim H.
    Assignment manager
    KGO-TV
    415-954-7321

  26. Hi Kate, This is Chris. I’m a friend of Bills down in Wild Cattle. I met you during the chalk fire. Sorry don’t know how else to get a hold of Bill without driving in. Could you please pass along a message through Katie that his dog, Mindie is doing okay and is being looked after. We will get her back to him in the next few days. Thanks so much. Chris

  27. Kate,

    You are so right-on, about the fact that Big Sur (not just Big Sur proper, but the whole area, from where the flatlands stop, north of San Simeon, all the way to Rocky Ridge) is a home, a mother, a Being-but not being as in individual. A feeling of connectedness with… the mystery of life happens here. One can sit on the same spot on a ridge for a day or two, just watching the parade of clouds & fog, listening to birds, and feel the deep rhythm of Earth, as sun & stars slide by. You are my distant neighbor, as I live in Santa Cruz, but every visit I make to where you call home, feels like coming home to me!

  28. Hi Kate,
    I’m just crusing through an thought I would say hi.
    Browney

  29. I came back to visit your site tonite and really enjoyed it. Your photography is soooooooo good. It is really nice to view photos with excellent lighting and composition. Something I work very hard on with my artwork. Of course, I had to read every tidbit about Dakota and I’m glad the wound is finally healing. Your Big Sur updates are very confusing to an outsider, but interesting like going to another world.

  30. Dear Kate – pls contact me asap

  31. Hey bigsurkate,

    This is Laith Agha, reporter for the Monterey Herald. Would it be possible for you to share some observations of the fire this evening? You can contact me at 831-646-4358 or lagha@montereyherald.com. The sooner the better. If you email me, can you provide a brief description of who you are? Thanks.

    -Laith

  32. Just stumbled in on your website recently, Thank you for all this information. The photos are spectacular, what camera are you using? My boyfriend is out on the Ponderosa fire right now and is giving me updates, but your blog is extremely helpful =] Your efforts are much appreciated!!!

  33. kate: another source of regularly-posted photos of south Central Coast fires: edhat.com
    also some good comments from folks who have intimate knowlege of those little-known back country areas as to the type and ages of fuels going up.

  34. Thanks, Sue. Will check it out.

  35. hey kate….Ive been getting a lot of mixed signals from the rangers whether or not nacimiento road is reopened and specifically if the coast ridge trail is opened. i was planning a 2 day photography trip at the end of that trail and i would hate to show up and it not be opened. Is there anyway you can find out for me…
    thanks for all of your good work

  36. So glad we have you on the beat, Kate. And I’ll be sure to call before I head up your driveway, that’s for sure!

  37. Hi Kate,
    mine is Ray, am a retired Ft.Hunter Liggett Firefighter/Engineer…spent 33 years there fighting fire..my nickname is “Motz”…lol. I love your website and the info on fires in the liggett an south county areas….my brother rich is currently down south with an engine crew on the station fire…he said it had tripled over night to over 30,000 now…keep up the good job kate….will check back for updates…later, Motz

    P.S. am currently residing in Paso Robles now.

  38. Saturday is the Big Sur Health Center 30th Anniversary BBQ at the Grange from 12-4 P.M. Everyone is invited for free food, music, and celebration. It should be a great community event.

  39. Hi Kate:

    Have a question…any ideas about how to keep flies and yellow jackets away… They drive me crazy … are they more abundant this year because
    of the fire in 08? thanks Susan

  40. Yes Kate, I was at the Hermitage on my birthday, September 17, and I couldn’t even stand to go outside for the whole time I was there at the Hermitage, 5 days. How do you possibly handle it at your house? For the other Susan above I can say that there are electric fly zappers outside houses at dairy farms so they don’t get in the house. I looked at the weather at Parkington Ridge today and it was so hot….probably lots of flies. I heard a wives tale before I came up that if you put copper pennies in water in a plastic bag that it would repell the flies from the reflecting pennies. It didn’t work.

  41. Sorry ,,, Don’t know what to think , of your blog corespondants ,,,, I can understand your Love of that Land ,,,, Me Too ,,,, Currently in Singapore

  42. Are You , having plenty of Frosty Mornings ?

    BTW ,,, what kind of vehicle are you driving , way up there ?

    Is that vehicle reliable ? Does the water in your batteries, freeze ?

    Did you remember when John Clueit , flew Blonco into his birthday party, by a helocopter ? Where you there ? Paula, thought , that you might have been there !

  43. I cannot thank you enough for your up to the minute posts on weather down your way. I have just spent the last hour perusing your website. What a treasure-trove! I am working on a book documenting the lost camps of the Ventana (for the VWA); and I even found a valuable factoid for it (in the History of the Los PAdres National Forest by Jim Blakely) link. Wow! What a labor love this is. Simple thanks is not enough.

  44. Kate:

    Do you know what kind of shape Los Burros Rd is in right now? Is it passenger-car passable or only high-clearance 4wd? Also the same question about the South Coast Ridge Road north and south of its junction with LB Road?

    Many thanks for any info. Paul Danielson, one of your newest web members.

  45. Paul, all roads down here 4×4 during winter, and often during the summer!

  46. How is the snow going up Tassajara Road? Heavy Yet? Any news of the road conditions to 3k feet or more up there?

  47. I have no idea how it is on Tassajara Rd. above 3K. According to the County website:
    From Jamesburg to Zen Center
    Not Advisable For 2-Wheel Drive Vehicles
    02-02-10 to Indefinite Road Damage Due to Winter Storms

  48. Fantastic site Kate. so informative and useful..would subscribe if it was commercial….wally barnick….proprietor Coast Ridge Outfitters at Fernwood Resort…I’m going to try NFerg Road in the morning (Sunday 3/7)…traveling from Atascadero to Fernwood. I’ll let you know how it goes. WB

  49. Thank you very much for your great blog site about a part of California everyone has heard of, but not many know about. My sister Ann Hobson sent me this link today, and I have been looking at the rock(and boulder)slide photos so far; liked the Waterfall photos._And it looks like there is a treasury of much more on this site.

  50. Clouds. Please note that the “clouds” we’ve been seeing for the last 19 years are not natural clouds. They are chemtrails emitted from military jet to alter the weather on this planet aka geo-engineering. It’s quite disgusting. People have been getting sick as a result. There is a big difference between contrails and chemtrails. Contrails are condensation emitted from commercial jets and evaporate within a minute. Chemtrails are aluminum, barium and other chemical aerosols sprayed from military jets. Chemtrails linger all day and are oily. For more info:

    http://www.infowars.com/scientists-admit-chemtrails-are-creating-artificial-clouds-2/

    and

    http://www.alternativemedia.ca/chemtrails.php

  51. What You Think about Kagan ?

  52. Attention Kate: You are the eyes and ears up there for so many, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for you. With that said, have there been any reports during New Years Eves in the past of fires by fireworks? 2nd part; is New Years a good time to visit Big Sur?

  53. Hi Kate,

    I came across your blog and wanted to see if you might be interested in reading my book, The Palisades, set in the Big Sur.

    More info is available at http://www.thepalisadesnovel.com and it’s available on Amazon.com and Kindle. I’m trying to see if the Henry Miller Library might stock it as local interest. Anyway, just wanted to share. Thanks! Tom

  54. Hi, Tom. Thanks for your comment. I’ll check out your book as soon as life allows.

  55. Hi Kate…..
    I’m wondering if it would be appropriate to post a “lost/found dog” posting on here?
    There has been a beautiful dog who arrived here a few days ago and seems to like it here. It was so interesting because my friend told me she sent me some angels to begin arriving on Feb 4 and then this white dog that looks so much like the white version my Mercy who died 17 days ago….and I truly feel like this is an “Angel of Mercy”.
    Of course we’re going through all channels we can think of to find out if anyone is looking for her but if nobody shows up we’d like her to live here at the dome property.
    Meanwhile I do have a photo of her and ready to post. Please let me know if this is ok and how to go about it….thanks so much….Love Sofanya
    PS….You’ve created an amazing blog…I’ll check it out more often!

  56. Kate could you send me your contact info? I’d like to talk about the hwy.

    Thanks,Kurt

  57. Hi Kate,
    I am trying to figure out if the road is open into Kirk Creek Campground, it looks close. Thanks!
    I love your blog. It is incredible. -Suz

  58. Maybe you can help me with this. My wife is 100% disabled. She can walk but not great distances. She has a “placard”. Has Cal-Trans addressed this issue at the Rocky Cr. slide. I hope there is a way to get her, in a vehicle to both ends of the actual job site without having to walk a great distance. Do you know if this has been addressed? Do you know who I might call?
    Thank you in advance,
    Bill Nye

  59. Monterey-Salinas Transit bus, which does pick up and drop off at the Rocky Creek closure, is equipped to carry 2 wheelchairs. So, she could easily be pushed across the slide then catch the bus. In town there are many options for handicapped travel. As you know, Bill, I am also handicapped, have the placard, and cannot walk great distances, either. I chose to drive around yesterday so I would have my own car and spent the night in town. If you need help with contacts for free or reduced costs for handicapped travel assistance in town, let me know, and I can get the names and numbers.

  60. Greetings from the end of Arroyo Seco Road at Fred’s camp:)

    Neat Blog only wish I had ran across it sooner for the great Fire coverage.

    Always interesting to see a local perspective on things.

    Take care, enjoy life and I look forward to any new entries in the future.

  61. Hi there what are doing at Los Olivas. I am the tanker pilot from Paso. Am in Texas at the moment. Read you every day. Phillip

  62. Kate: do you or anyone know what the Alms Hill area is like? Is this an area prone to little water, slides, right in the path of fires in the past, etc.?

    Will be pulling for all of you as the storm comes in!

    Jane in Santa Cruz

  63. Does anyone know what ever became of the property owner that set the backfire to save his house at the Big Sur fire a few years back.

  64. I think you must be asking about Mica. I think he was not prosecuted for any offense.
    Bill Nye

  65. Bill, it was Ross who was arrested, but charges dropped. Mica and Ross worked it out, So that Mica would stay to take cate of the property, and Ross would take the heat

  66. Kate
    Trying to find out what the travel conditions are like on Highway one. Traveling to Cambria this Saturday – do they anticipate hours of delays since it’s one way for a stretch?

  67. There are 3 areas of one-way traffic. Typically, there is a 5 minute delay, or less, unless some extraordinary construction is going on, and even then, they get traffic through in 20 minutes or less.

  68. Kate, we have met a couple of times. I am a lifetime friend of your neighbor John. I will be visiting in August and I hope to say hi to you. Your blog is truly nice. I also blog about my world travels (no place as good as the South Coast!) you can check out my blog posts at
    http://www.theothersideofthecoconut@wordpress.com
    When I come up in August I would like to drive up Nacimiento road and enter John’s property thru yours on that side. I hope you let me!!

  69. Hi Kathleen. Am in Abilene flying fires. Check out the Abilene paper on Sunday, 7-15. Big article on fracking. Lots of info. Am in T 22 this year.

  70. I’ve been riding motorcycles since 1966, attending races at Laguna Seca since 1981, and I empathize with your comments concerning bike traffic during race weekends, I think you’d find that the majority of the riders who attend are sane and courteous, but those just aren’t the ones we remember. Watching top professional racers at work can, unfortunately, have the effect of inspiring immature riders to try to emulate those professionals, especially on of the world’s greatest motorcycle roads. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I send mental apologies to all whose serenity has been disturbed by my overly-enthusiastic brethren, whether by rude riding or illegally loud exhaust (I live in Cambria, and the pre-race river of noise does get a bit wearing).

  71. 8/5/11 we are wondering what people were photographing along hwy 1 almost to San Simeon with what looked like hi tech cameras and antenna….. curious! We were heading south after a week of camping in Big Sur.

  72. Just a note from the south end…We’ve seen 6 motorcycle accidents near Silver Spur Cr ( Grump Creek) since the slides were opened this year.
    Yesterday a Pious Prius ran a Harley into the mountainside, at low speed.
    No injuries, but hard on the stereotype….Ah, Hwy 1, the parade that never stops..want it to or not…..pf

  73. Great postings, thanks Kate. I was the first to operate the Hobbit General Store, in Gorda, in 1975-76. Before that, placer gold mining in Willow Creek Canyon: the Hobbit Mine (est 4 Jul 67). One winter around 1970 I was cleaning up the lodge at Esalen, around 2AM or so. Hwy 1 was rumored closed to the south, around Ragged Point or San Carpoforo, heavy rock-slides. Out of the storm, into the lodge slogged a totally drenched young couple, mucked and muddy, obviously a basket case of some sort. Turned out they were dodging rocks ‘somewhere way south’ weaving northward when a bowling-ball size boulder fragment hit their car, dead center over the cabin — next morning I saw the damage. Unbelievable, and then some. Edward Jones

  74. Hi: we just returned from a retreat at the Hermitage and I agree about Kate! If it hadn’t been for Kate and the Big Sur Kate Blog, I honestly don’t know what residents and visitors alike would do. A huge hooray for Kate comes from this Capitola couple!

    And yep, we saw some pretty nutty drivers out there driving, weather was beautiful and we’re glad the Labor Day and summer traffic may be behind us, I’m not sure??!

  75. Dearest BigSur Kate,
    I chatted with you via here and EMAIL awhile back..i lived in South Big Sur near Jade cove in 80’s.My dearest friend then was Robert Willet among other’s.My husband and I may come tha tway soon and up near Sonoma… I would so love to call him.I know Connie and him are up north there somewhere now but cannot locate an address,phone or anything.??? I would sure love to touch base with him.Perhaps I should write a letter to Pacific Valley? Thanks for any info you could provide.I believe Brian is in San Fran and daughter Connie is ?? Thanks Kate so Much!! I wish you good days…Julie Rohrs,now Julie Adams…Please say hi and love to Jonh Kinnick as well..You said he was your neighbor..my email is jlrohrs@comcast.net

  76. Kate your website is awesome….You are a piller to the community……can you tell me about the death of Jeff,from Kurt Creek…Duncans father I hear he also passed

  77. Thank you Kate for your wonderful expression/connection/information with Big Sur ongoings….I know it is very much appreciated by many including me! Love, Sofanya

  78. You deserve more attention for your efforts.

  79. Kate, please let me know how to reach you so I can post the information about mom’s memorial service.

    Love, Karin

  80. Karin – email kwnovoa@mac.com phone – 831-818-8026

  81. HI Kate- I just did a quick search on Pitkins Curve project and ran across your blog- I was hired to do color work with the painting contractor to assist him in the overall FAUX stone for the entire structure. I worked up some samples on site in early 2012 and have not heard a peep from them, guess they thought they could run with the samples I did. I would love to see what they actually ended up doing after all.. Im up in the SF north bay and won’t be traveling down that way anytime soon :( Can you do an update with images and shots of the final finish they approved???? Please! you can send images directly to rastudio@mac.com if you want. Thanks a bunch- thanks for doing your blog- looks like fun :) Roberta

  82. Hello Kate,

    Just got back from a wonderful trip to Cone Peak last week. Second time in 20 years. Need to go back more often!
    Do you have good info on the history of the creation of the Nacimiento road and what led to it’s development? Was it first a Native American trail, or was it essentially a miner’s access route? Also, do you know where I can find information on the history of the building of the Cone Peak lookout?

    Thanks for your continued good efforts! Gary

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